1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · Events

Exploring the Bioeconomies of Assisted Reproduction and Regenerative Medicine in Spain and the UK

Workshop   15.06.2012






Dr Vincenzo Pavone (Institute of Public Policies, CSIC, Madrid)

Dr Michael Morrison (Egenis)

Professor Pilar Nicolás Jiménez (Interuniversity Chair in Law and the Human Genome, University of Deusto, University of the Basque Country)

Organised by

Egenis and the Science, Culture and the Law at Exeter (SCuLE) research group


Egenis, Byrne House, University of Exeter

Event details

The event will feature presentations from scholars working on the BioARReMe project (see below) and is intended to provide an opportunity for lively and informed discussion of the early stages of work on the project. We believe the workshop is relevant to a range of interests including but not limited to colleagues from the social sciences and law.

Places are limited so please book in advance by contacting m.morrison@exeter.ac.uk

Project overview:

BioARReMe: the Bioeconomy of Assisted Reproduction and Regenerative Medicine

The BioARReMe project examines the links between two related domains of biomedical activity: Assisted reproduction (AR), which involves the provision of in-vitro fertilisation and related infertility treatments, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and screening of embryos, and organised donation/collection of human embryos and gametes, and regenerative medicine (RM), the innovative attempt to develop and use human cells including stem cells as therapeutic tools to augment the body’s capacity for self-repair. Some notable work in the sociologies of science and medicine has already drawn attention to the close links between the provision of infertility treatment and the supply of human eggs and embryos for stem cell research (SCR) (Franklin, 2006; Roberts & Throsby, 2008) and the similar, though separate, sourcing of foetal tissue for SCR from abortion clinics (Kent, 2008). In this project we aim to step back from these micro-sociological accounts, valuable though they are, and take account of the political, legal, institutional, and economic networks in which these activities are embedded. The project, thus, addresses the relations between these interacting networks at the interface of AR and RM research for the what they effectively are, i.e. constitutive elements of an emerging bioeconomy.

In particular we will look at the ways in which predominant political ideas of individual (customer/consumer) choice in medical service provision and the positioning of innovation in the life sciences as a key driver of economic growth have acted to shape the emergence and co-production of AR and RM, while at the same time examining the extent to which local cultural, regulatory, social, and practical traditions and understandings still play an important role in shaping the actual implementation and trajectories of these domains. In order to illustrate both the continuities and fragmentations the BioARReMe project will involve a comparison of the bioeconomies of AR and RM across two distinct national contexts - Spain and the UK. Important sub-questions of the project include:

  • How have legal instruments configured individuals as patients, donors, service users etc in ways that facilitate the kinds of bioeconomic relations that are visible in AR and RM?
  • What flows of material (stem cell lines, gametes, and other tissues), people (physicians, patients, scientists etc) and practices (techniques, standards, regulatory and legal approaches) can be observed between the bioeconomies of Spain and the UK? How can we map, measure and account for these?
  • What continuities and differences are detectable in the ways people position themselves in relation to different technologies of RM and AR (e.g. through different roles such as donor, patient, regulator, and in different national contexts)?

Headed by Dr Vincenzo Pavone of the Institute of Public Policies in the High Research Council in Spain (CSIC) in Madrid, the BioARReMe project team includes Dr Michael Morrison (Egenis) Dr Flor Arias (University of Extremadura) and Professor Pilar Nicolás Jiménez (Interuniversity Chair in Law and the Human Genome, University of Deusto, University of the Basque Country). The BioARReMe project is funded through the Plan Nacional funding scheme in Spain and held its initial meeting on 26 January 2012.

Further details